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I've come across the term "golden fingers" in a book, in the following context:

Timing recovery has long been perceived as a field in which 'golden fingers' and intimate familiarity with analog circuitry are crucial.

I couldn't find the translation of this term or another example of usage. I should note that author is from the Netherlands. Intuitively I would guess that it means that someone can be considered very skillful, and in my native language (not Dutch) there is a corresponding idiom with literal translation "golden hands".

Is "golden fingers" a common idiom in English? If not, is there a proper term or idiom of that meaning?

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    No, but we have the saying "green fingers" for people who can make plants grow. There is a translation of Ian Fleming's Goldfinger into Dutch entitled De man met de gouden vingers. Perhaps it's a Dutch phrase, and so the Dutch author wrote it that way in English. We do however have magic touch which means a similar thing. Oct 30, 2020 at 15:11
  • I think we do have golden touch too although less common than magic touch.
    – mdewey
    Oct 30, 2020 at 15:40
  • @WeatherVane Very interesting! Based on your suggestion, I have found here couple examples that use "green fingers" in a broader sense. One of the examples: "He said his success in designing mixing consoles stemmed more from having green fingers and a very inquiring mind than any structured research process." The given meaning, however, is just what you said, regarding only the plant growth.
    – megasplash
    Oct 30, 2020 at 15:41
  • So the author may have been mixing his metaphors: Golden touch & Green fingers. Oct 30, 2020 at 15:44

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Dutch native speaker here, 'golden fingers' isn't an idiom here. Like you (Russian?) we do have 'golden hands' (see this article in Dutch); that phrase isn't used that often, but refers to King Midas' golden touch.

As @WeatherVane suggests in the comments, I'd use 'magic touch':

: a special power, influence, or skill that can be seen in the way something is done : an ability to produce good results in an impressive way

(source: Merriam-Webster)

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  • Yes, I referred to a Russian term. In Russian it is not related to King Midas, "golden" simply has a figurative meaning "excellent". In conclusion I would also agree with @WeatherVane about a possible mix of metaphors in the original text.
    – megasplash
    Nov 2, 2020 at 10:15

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